Man de la Maza

Monday, March 07, 2005

Isle de la Maza

I stopped in on the old man who lives up the street on the way home today and found him in a terrible state. He was lying on the floor in front of a laptop showing a chess problem and a window that said "Test Complete". Two empty 5 lb bags of Cheetos and a plethora of Tab cans littered the floor. He looked not well. I was going to inquire if he wanted me to send for a doctor, but his time on the earth looked like it would counted in minutes, not hours.

"Shall I send for a priest, Don Queue?", I asked.

"No," he said, "I'm not Catholic; I'm a Quaker."

"Oh, shall I send for ... what do Quaker's send for before they die?"

"No one, but they often form a mourning committee. Never mind ..."

"Shall I send for the Scrivener that you may prounounce you will", I interupted. "It is time for your to renounce your knightship and tell your daughters they will get none of your estate if they marry a man who plays chess."

"What?" Don said.

"Yes, it's in the book", and I showed him the last chapter of Cervantes' masterpiece.

"Ah," he chuckled in a raspy voice. "I see your mistake. Many make it. I am not Don Quixote and never have been; I am Don Queue. Don Quixote was a lonely old man who thought he was a knight; I am a young man who is one of many knights -- Knights Errant de la Maza."

At this the old man started to cough, and I feared I had seen his last breath. But his words returned.

"You are a good boy," he said, "and I must call upon you for a service. I fear my time is almost done, and it is up to you to perserve the gift."

I was naturally puzzled as he wanly reached into his vest pocket.

"Take this and throw it upon a clear water."

"Ct Art 3.0?" I said

"It is the secret of those who quest," he said. "Someday a I king will come and he will need it. Go! Now. I have not much time."

He was a silly old man, and I should have rather gone for the doctor, but I did as he bid. I journeyed to the James River and hurled the CD like frisbee into the water. It floated such that I wondered that it would ever come down. But as it did, Caissia's silver white arm reached from under the waters and caught it. I should have thought I imagined it but that the arm stayed straight as God holding the disk aloft. And then in a wink, it disappeared to the depths below.

Naturally, I was excited, and I ran to tell the old man. When I arrived, he was gone. All that remained was a single scrap of paper on which was written, "Will".

God's speed to the old man. I was ever fond of him.

End of the Journey
I did it. It took 155+ days, but I did it. The last day was actually not that bad. It took about 12 hours chronologically, but I took a few breaks and went for a midday run. Sitting at home all day doing chess problems is not nearly so hard as doing a 3 hours worth after a full days work.

It was a good day, and I think I was in particularly good form. Damn near got the whole lot memorized now.

Circle Seven Stats:
Level 10: 98%
Level 20: 99%
Level 30: 97%
Level 40: 97%
Level 50: 95%
Level 60: 85%

Future Plans
1) Finish this Arrogant Bastard Ale
2) Finish the other AB Ale in the fridge
3) There's some nice white wine in there too!

I don't plan on doing anything formal for quite a while. The words "chess" and "must" will not appear in my life for at least 6 months, probably a year. I think I shall take up some Opening Study for fun. When I want to get serious again, I think I'll try endgames.

I shouldn't have been able to do this without the support of all of you. In particular, I thank:

1) The Empress. Though you thought the idea quixotic, you were ever supportive. I shouldn't have made it if you hadn't been willing to pick up the slack.

2) DG -- your site helped spread the word. I don't think I would have reached so many without you.

3) The Knight Errant de la Maza. After the First Circle, there was not question in my mind that I had to complete this. I couldn't dissapoint all y'all.

4) And especially, SANCHO. I would have given up without you, my friend. Thanks for giving me strength when I wanted to quit. Thanks also for being so damn funny. I needed that most of all.


  • Sniff sniff. That was beautiful! I am sick today but I will toast a beer in honor of the Don.


    By Blogger Pawn Sensei, at 8:57 PM  

  • Hear ye, hear ye! All hail Don De La Maza; dutiful husband, consumate calculator, and First Knight Errant De La Maza! Lay out the feast! Prepare the fatted calf! Minstrels to your positions! Let us have dancing, and women! Your finest wine to the head of the table post-haste!

    Congratulations on your efforts and completing the seven circles. I hope you will remain among the rest of us who continue to toil in the quest for greater understanding of the royal game. Great job, and might I say impressive results there at the end.

    Michael De La Maza! Can you hear me? There is a champion among us, and his name is Don, Don De La Maza!

    By Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza, at 9:33 PM  

  • Congratulations!!! Let the games begin!!!

    By Blogger King of the Spill, at 10:24 PM  

  • Congratulations Don!

    I have been lurking your blog for a long time and somehow I always thought you would make it through. You have given many a good laughs describing exactly what all patzers feel when trying to improve. What made this blog special was your personal and humorous approach – you literally poured your soul to us readers. Especially moving was the journey through the first circle, “Will he make it – oh yes he will!”.

    Thanks again for setting an example and good luck on the future adventures of Man de la Maza,

    bahus (aka Eerikki)

    By Blogger bahus, at 10:28 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger HK Chess Fan, at 1:11 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger HK Chess Fan, at 1:11 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger HK Chess Fan, at 1:12 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger HK Chess Fan, at 1:12 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger HK Chess Fan, at 1:13 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger HK Chess Fan, at 1:13 AM  

  • Enjoy yourself with a fine glass of white wine and a good sleep! But yet don't go away! We are looking forward to seeing more of your feelings and insights!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:14 AM  

  • Sorry for wasting the space. I repeatedly send out the message because I do not know I had already sent it. Not much to say, just congratulations.

    By Blogger HK Chess Fan, at 1:17 AM  

  • Congratulations! Now we will see what will happen to your rating the next year. At least your games will be more satisfying, I'm sure. Keep us informed about your progress. Further we are in need for your humerous support when we do our own circles. Prosit!

    By Blogger Temposchlucker, at 1:52 AM  

  • Congratulations!

    By Anonymous logis, at 5:52 AM  

  • Congratulations!

    By Anonymous logis, at 5:53 AM  

  • "ADRIAN!!!! ADRIAN!!!!"

    Congratulations, Don Q! The latest MDLM graduate is in the house!!!!

    By Blogger CelticDeath, at 6:16 AM  

  • A hearty mazeltov! No wait, you aren't Jewish, you're Quaker. . .

    Anyway, many congratulations. We look with interest in seeing of you make rapid advancement with your ELO.

    Never give up the quest. Fellow knights will join you soon. . .

    By Blogger Jim, at 7:01 AM  

  • Congratulations! I hope this doesn't mean an end to your blogging.
    I'll be drinking a toast to you tonight as well.

    By Blogger Will, at 8:54 AM  

  • Congrats!! Be sure to let us know how it affects your games :)

    By Blogger Chris, at 8:54 AM  

  • Don - Way to go! There's nothing so sweet as accomplishment and success. Hope you can find things to fill your evenings going forward.

    Thanks for the thanks. As we have discussed before, virtual communities result in mutual benefit. To the extent that I have played a role in publicizing your quest, you have provided siginificant benefits to my project as well.

    I look forward to your next adventure and hope you keep stopping by for miscellaneous chess bits and coverage of the knights.

    By Blogger DG, at 9:50 AM  

  • Congratulations Don! And it is I who owe you all of the thanks! Had it not been for our exchange on Mig's site I never would have teamed up for what I thought at the time would be a lonely trek for the two of us. Nor would I have met all of these wonderful folks from around the globe. Each additional Knight makes chess improvement much easier by sharing their thoughts and stories. Amazing how it has taken on a life of it’s own.

    So keep on keeping on, brother.
    Hey I have an idea for your next adventure, let me know when you feel like looking at a chess set again. But right now I want you to take a well earned vacation. Pamper the Empress, hug the kids, see a movie, go for a walk, etc.
    Much Love,

    By Blogger Sancho Pawnza, at 3:23 PM  

  • If I could drink beer, I would drink one to your success!!! Very good job. It's great that you made it this far. Enjoy your well-earned vacation from chess!


    By Blogger generalkaia, at 7:24 PM  

  • Wow. I just stumbled on this cult (hehehe) and offer my sincere congratulations to your dedication and perserverance. I am contemplating taking on this quest myself. I really enjoyed reading your posts.

    If you could do it all over again, how would you go about it?

    (perrito on ICC)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:19 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home